11/25/07 — Brisk day-after-Thanksgiving sales put retailers in celebratory mood

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Brisk day-after-Thanksgiving sales put retailers in celebratory mood

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 25, 2007 2:01 AM

Shoppers were out before the sun Friday morning to grab the best deals before Christmas, and many had the intention to spend as little as they could to make it through increasing economic pressures.

And although drones of people stood in lines that seemingly went on for miles, national analysts expected sales gains to be the weakest in five years.

But in Goldsboro, the stores made more than enough trips to the bank, sending many of their books closer to that black ink.

To do so, many had doorbuster deals and bargains worth the cold wait in line.

Belk's store manager Turner Wood said his store gave out gift cards to the first 250 people that entered the store.

"We had people waiting out in the parking lot at 3:30 a.m.," he said.

And they were "very happy with the business yesterday," Wood added, saying that their top sellers were electronic items.

"We also did very well in fine jewelry, Christmas trim, fragrances, men's sportswear and women's Christmas-wear," he said.

Fellow Berkeley Mall retailer JCPenney did well, too.

Karen Witt, the department store's manager, said they had a great day.

"We were definitely above last year's sales," she said. "We were happy to get the business. We were just tickled with the result."

Larger retailers, like Target, Sam's Club and Staples, also fared better than last year.

"We saw double-digit percent growth over last year's sales," said Jeff Diggs, Target's store manager. "It was actually better than what the market predicted."

Sam's Club sales were "way up from last year," store manager Jeff Godbey said.

"Up 37 percent," he added.

Staples store manager Gary Carter said that their sales were "pretty good for the most part."

Other retailers did not want to divulge any sales information, but said that they did well overall.

Lowe's store manager Angie Dixon said their sales were on target with predictions.

"(The sales) were about what we thought they were going to be," she said.

Nationwide, retailers saw top sales in flat-screen TVs, digital cameras, digital frames and laptops.

Retailers had a good start last year during the Thanks-giving weekend, but many struggled in December with shopping surges happening just before and after Christmas.

Those surges weren't enough to make up for lost sales.

Stores in the area are hoping that isn't the case this year.

"We feel very optimistic about the rest of the season," Belk's Wood said.